We found Rupa Wasi in a guide book, then looked on TripAdvisor and was blown away by the reviews. This little place only has a handful of rooms and a restaurant. Rupa Wasi is considered sustainable lodging because of their commitment to environmental responsibility: they compost, recycle, and encourage minimal water & electrical use. Additionally, they have gone through great lengths to incorporate the surrounding area in the construction of the tiny resort.
Upon getting off the train in Aguas Calientes, we found an employee from Rupa Wasi to escort us to the resort. This is where tip #1 will come in: notify Rupa Wasi (more than likely via email) of what train & time you arrive so they have someone waiting to show you to the resort. We were fortunate that there was another couple there who *had* contacted RW for a pickup. The employee barely spoke English, but we were able to translate to him that we needed to follow him. He walked us through the vibrant market, through the square, and up some long & steep stairs to Rupa Wasi. The employee hauled up as many of our bags as he could as well. (Note: get ready to be in great shape after a few climbs of these stairs that go up to Rupa Wasi!)
At the top of the stairs, we found the office of Rupa Wasi. It smelled of damp jungle, because that's where it resided: literally built into the cliff and trees that surrounded it. It was an immediately unique start to our stay...and we hadn't even checked in yet. The front desk clerk, Saida offered us some coca tea and promptly got us orientated to the cozy, homey Rupa Wasi. Saida was very friendly and spoke great english. She gave us the run down of the rooms, the restaurant, how breakfast worked, and then informed us that our pre-booked Machu Picchu info would be ready at 7pm.
Tip #2: Save some hassle and book your Machu Picchu and/or Hyana Picchu tickets & bus through Rupa Wasi. It will save you a lot of time as well. I don't believe Rupa Wasi charges a fee on top of the normal ticket fees.
Tip #3: Get a magnificent box lunch from Rupa Wasi/The Treehouse Resaurant for Machu Picchu. There's a restaurant outside the entrance atop Machu Picchu, but the food pales in comparison to the box lunch you'll get from The Treehouse. This can be ordered right when you check in at Rupa Wasi. More on the box lunch later (also, read my review of the Treehouse Restaurant...easily the best meal in Aguas Calientes).
The non-English speaking fellow who greeted us at the train station (I'm sorry, I wish I could remember his name...Rupa Wasi, if you read this, please let me know what his name is!) hauled our bags up the narrow entry to our room. Saida followed us and gave us the secret handshake to making the hot water work in the tree-house-style room we stayed in. She also showed us the hotel's preference for recycling and composting, then bid us farewell until 7pm.
So at this point, in case you didn't notice, I am in love with the rooms at Rupa Wasi. As you can see above, they are like a tree house. This would seemingly indicate that the room is small and cramped, but it is absolutely not. The only thing small in the suites at Rupa Wasi is the entrance... the sleeping area is very spacious, the bathroom is a very acceptable size, and the balcony that overlooks the cloud forest is also big enough for two people to sit comfortably with a meal or a cocktail. Did I mention that the balcony overlooks the cloud forest *and* has a view of Machu Picchu? Well, it does. We spent most of our first evening in Aguas Calientes sitting on this balcony drinking Cusqueno and taking in the breath-taking view of the towering cliffs, clouds, and Machu Picchu.
Tip #4: There's not a lot to do in Aguas Calientes, so walk down the stairs from Rupa Wasi and take the first left. Go down a few doors and find one of the bodegas and pick yourself up a bottle of wine or a few beers. Haul them back up to your room and sit on the balcony and enjoy this mesmerizing view. You can see my pictures attached to see how to do it right...if you need some guidance.
After check-in, we walked around Aguas Calientes for a few hours, then winded back up at Rupa Wasi to have dinner at The Treehouse Restaurant. This delicious, rustic, upscale restaurant is literally 10 feet from your room's door at Rupa Wasi. It's also where you get to have the complimentary breakfast from Rupa Wasi. (You can read my Treehouse Restaurant review later.) After dinner, it was time to sit on the balcony of our room and drink some Cusquenos while breathing in the fragrant flowers and taking in the incredible view.
When it was time to go to bed, our already-amazing stay at Rupa Wasi only got better...this was the most comfortable bed I had ever slept in...maybe ever. No joke, the mattress, pillows, and comforters were as light and fluffy as the clouds that pass before you while sitting on the balcony. It was the deepest, most comfortable sleep I had in eight days in Peru. The pillows are the softest things I've ever had the privilege of touching. So much so, I'm on a quest to find out where to buy them online so I can integrate them into my sleeping arrangement at home. Prepare to sleep like a baby at Rupa Wasi.
In the AM, we awoke to find no power in the resort. To our surprise--and comfort--most of Aguas Calientes was out of power, too. Saida was working again and was extremely apologetic for the power outage...even though it was most certainly not her fault. If anything, showering by flashlight added to the adventure that was already Rupa Wasi.
The Treehouse Restaurant, where you get your free breakfast at, had power, thankfully (I have no idea how the power "grid" works in Aguas Calientes, and nor did our hosts). Your complimentary breakfast is like none other in Peru. It's essentially a three-course meal, starting with delicious coconut granola & yogurt, then fresh fruit, followed by eggs made-to-order. Fresh Peruvian coffee, mango juice, or bottled water washes the delicious meal down.
It was at this point in the day we were given our fantastic box lunches for our day at Machu Picchu. You can read about those, too, in my review of the Treehouse Restaurant.
Tip #5: Both the Treehouse Restaurant & Rupa Wasi take most major credit cards.
We asked Saida where the bus terminal was, and she walked us right to the front door. We thanked her, then then departed for Machu Picchu and experienced the most mesmerizing scenery in my entire life. After five hours of exploring Machu Picchu, we returned to Rupa Wasi and Saida. The tremendously wonderful service didn't end there.
We asked Saida if we could store our luggage here at Rupa Wasi, and she gladly obliged. Thinking we would need to haul our luggage to a storage area, Saida said to simply keep what we wanted to leave behind in the room, and Rupa Wasi would do the rest.
Upon returning to Rupa Wasi after Machu Picchu, the outstanding service didn't end there...even though we were checked out of Rupa Wasi, and they already had our money, Saida & her coworker again offered us coca tea, coffee, and to fill our water containers. With our financial transaction done, the last thing I expected was to be waited on again. As if my opinion of Rupa Wasi wasn't already set, this simply served to solidify it. Oh yeah, and she apologized for the power being out again, explaining that a transformer had blown in town.
We spent some time resting and drinking tea in the gorgeous courtyard of Rupa Wasi, surrounded by giant fragrant plants and cloud forest. Hummingbirds darted around our heads. At one point, I think we all regretted only spending one night at Rupa Wasi.
Bottom line: there are cheaper places to stay in Aguas Calientes. Out of those cheaper places, few will offer the top-tier customer service of Rupa Wasi. Of that small portion, none of them are as beautiful or as comfortable of a stay. In my opinion, spending a few bucks more than a hostel crammed in "downtown" Aguas Calientes just isn't worth it when I'm on a destination trip to a place I'll probably never be able to return to. I'm glad I spent the money for my wife and I to stay at Rupa Wasi where we will all have vivid, wonderful memories.
Thank you, Rupa Wasi, for helping create memories I'll never forget while in Peru.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Rupa Wasi’s unique location provides for spectacular views of the mountains of Machu Picchu. Rooms boasting balconies allow our guests to take full advantage of these surroundings. This design marvel fits together magically with the green surrounding of Aguas Calientes to create a peaceful environment, an invitation to relax. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com and Priceline so you can book your Rupa Wasi Lodge reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Rupa Wasi Eco Hotel Aguas Calientes
- Hotel Rupa Wasi Eco